Life at SMC

Floral Notes and Bardo: Blabbering Universe

By Travis Newbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center.

There’s a lot that could be said about the voice.

IMG_0353Pictured: Lake Shunyata

We’re studying the Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness.  At this first stage, the Shravaka stage, we’re investigating our experience in search of a separate, independent, lasting “self.”

In my meditation I indulged and played with the voice that was articulating — internally, somehow — the teachings on no-self that I had the intention to contemplate.

I wanted the voice to say these things about the five skandhas, form, feeling, and so on, and the voice obliged.  The voice says whatever I want it to say.  So I had the voice say all sorts of things to make sure this was the case.  The voice sounds like the voice that my body produces out of my mouth when I wish to speak.

What the heck is this voice?

And what hears the voice?  Who is the voice speaking to?

It seems like this voice, and the knowledge of this voice, the hearing of this voice, is what I think of as the self.

The teachings say there is no lasting, continuous anything.  That a flame is not the same flame from moment to moment.  Okay…

This voice, somehow, is familiar.  It’s like a companion.  Companion to whom?

It keeps me company?  Keeps who company?

I assume that the rest of the people in the room also have a voice that I can’t hear.

What’s the deal with all of this?

If the voice isn’t real, why is it so distinct?  What is my relationship with it?  What do I mean by “my”?  What do I mean by “I”?

Will the voice continue when I die?  Seems like, probably not.

Blabbering universe.

Will the voice exhaust itself?

What’s the word?

— January 13, 2015


PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill